Title: Lie To Me

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Post-Gift. She had lost track of how long they had been travelling. How many Hotels they had stayed in. Spike never wanted her to worry about things like that. He wanted her to forget, and in turn, so did she.

Pairing: Spike/Dawn

Disclaimer: The characters, the whole BtVS-verse; not mine--'News from the file marked 'duh'

'I love the way you love. But I hate the way; I'm supposed to love you back—Miss You Love, silverchair'

Chapter 2: The Red King's Dream

Sixteen months ago…

"Up for one more game, Bit?"

When there was no response, Spike glanced across the table. Dawn sat staring at the cards clutched in her hands. She had lost against Spike the majority of the night, and when she did win she knew he was letting her. Playing cards was a distraction Spike had devised, if not for Dawn than for him. It was all about repetition. Shuffle the cards. Deal the cards. Win or lose. Repeat until the flow felt familiar and natural. Repeat until all thoughts were about numbers, Kings, and Queens, and nothing about what haunted their thoughts most of the day. It was all just repetition.

The comfort this mundane cycle brought Dawn was wearing thin. Her hands became slack and her cards fluttered softly to the floor. The game had stopped. She couldn't pretend anymore. The Queen of Hearts was staring up at her from its place on the floor. Motionless. Lifeless. Why wasn't she getting up? She had to get up. She couldn't be dead. She shouldn't look so peaceful…

All she had to do was pick the cards up. Shuffle. Cut. Deal. She could start the cycle again. It didn't need to stop. She could make herself believe that nothing was wrong. Her blood never opened portals to dimensions. She's not some mystic energy bounded in flesh and bone. There wasn't any tower or sacrifice. She could go along with the rest of the world; she could right all these events off as fiction. Just a fairytale. It wasn't real.

'Am I real? Am I anything?'

Dawn tried to push the unwanted thoughts out of her mind. Pick the cards up. Shuffle the deck. Cut the deck. Deal the cards. Repeat. She could do this. Pick the cards up. Shuffle the deck. Cut the—Shallow cuts, shallow cuts, let the blood flow…

"Take me away," Dawn blurted out, she tore her eyes away from the cards on the floor, and looked pleadingly at the vampire sitting on the other side of the table.

Spike remained silent as Dawn's form started to softly shake. Her bottom lip began to quiver as she waited for his response. Her salvation. Her damnation. It was all up to him. Within Dawn's request she had given him full reign of her life. She had given him full responsibility of making everything better.

He frowned and shook his head, "Dawn, You know I can't…"

"Please, I'm not asking you to take me away forever. I just want a few days… away from here." Dawn reasoned desperately. All she wanted was a few days. A few days away from her life of charades, and her conflicting feelings towards her new, shiny sister. She had to hate the robot. It was an abomination of her sister's death. Why couldn't she hate it?

"Niblet, you have school, it's not that easy. Besides, I…"

"I need this Spike. I can't take being here right now," Dawn said, as her eyes welled up with tears, "Everyday I have to make believe Buffy's alive… and it's killing me. I can't do it. I'm not good at pretending."

He had permission to break her, to pull the last thread, and watch her fall apart. Spike could kill the girl for giving him such utter consent to do what he pleased with her. Her present to him was power over her, and it stirred his demon into a frenzy. What Spike had learnt from his numerous victims was that there was nothing better than having complete power and control over someone. To have their life dangle between your fingers. To have total control on whether they lived or died. To know that the simple few words you'd speak could crush any flitter of hope they had.

'You're dinner'

'You're dead'

'I'm Evil'

I can't…

It would have been easier for Spike if possession were all he craved. Not that the thought didn't interest him immensely. But he had changed. After years of destruction and mayhem, he had been pegged down from his title of 'Slayer of Slayers' to a pathetic excuse for a vampire. He was harmless to the living, and obsessively in love with a Slayer. Oh yeah, he was the big bad.

As much as he hated the nobility he felt towards a Being that was hated by his kind, it was still there, he couldn't make it go away. Even now, even with her buried underground and rotting away. Agreeing to what Dawn wanted was wrong. Buffy would've thought it was wrong. She would have staked him dead in an instant for even considering it. Not to mention that going through with it would be severely dangerous to his unlife. The Witches would probably teach him a lesson with some magic trick, and the boy was always looking for any excuse to stake him.

Spike would protect Dawn. Even if that meant she had to suffer.

Dawn's heart sank when she saw the hesitation in Spike's eyes. He wouldn't do it. A flicker of rage ignited within her. She pushed herself off the couch angrily, "Right, of course. I knew you wouldn't do this for me,"

"Bit, it's not like that. You're not thinking straight," Spike said, as he rose from his chair.

"And you're only thinking what Buffy would want," Dawn lashed out at him, "News flash, Spike! You can't win Buffy's affection by playing the responsible babysitter. If you haven't noticed she's…"

Dawn gasped as Spike slammed her against a wall. Why did he always do this to her? Why did he always bring out feelings that she had no right to express? I should have jumped. Selfish Bitch. She took him with her. I hate her. Envy her. These bad thoughts were not allowed to be let out. They were supposed to be suppressed, locked away forever in her mind. It created a slow burn, an ache Dawn thought was suitable punishment. But when it came to Spike it was different. It was worse. She was jealous of a corpse. Jealous of not being able to immortalise herself like Buffy had. Jealous that Buffy would always have a part of Spike that she could never touch.

She had to be evil to think such thoughts. How could she ever think she was good enough to die? Good enough to be loved or remembered the way Buffy was. Good enough for a vampire to cry uncontrollably over her. They were wrong, even Glory. Her blood wasn't pure. It was tainted. She was wrong, disgusting and dirty. She was evil, and now Spike had realised he was protecting something unworthy. His tight unrelenting grip on her was proof of who he would've wanted to die. It was proof that she had lost that little part of him that was set-aside for her. Her tiny hold on him had melted away between her heated words. He was going to leave her.

Spike barely noticed the small sparks of pain that shot through his brain. He was too angry with her. She would never understand. She was too busy isolating her thoughts, and mulling over temporal fixes to realise that all of this…was his fault. He was the one who had failed. He should have been faster. He should have blocked Doc's move. Should have seen it coming.

He wanted to wake Dawn out of her guilt-ridden trance. He wanted to shake all those feelings out of her and make them his own. Maybe then he'd stop loving the Slayer. Maybe then he'd get over this little phase, and everything would be much more simpler. He could go back to his wicked ways, or as wicked as his chip would allow. They'd be no more patrolling with the Scoobies, no more fighting side by side with them. It wasn't right them being do-gooders and all. He could still keep Dawn around though. He used to take advantage of little girls. Wasn't that what he was doing right now?

His grip on Dawn tightened, but she didn't try to push him away. His Little Bit would never push him away. He leaned towards her and his mouth lingered dangerously close to her neck. He wanted to taste her. She'd taste like Buffy undoubtedly. It would be a mixture of pleasure and pain. A combination most vampires found exhilarating. Buffy would have never let him drink from her. But Dawn would. She would. She'd let him.

It wasn't until Spike moved back and saw the look in Dawn's eyes that any craving for blood was lost, and he loosened his hold on her. He had broken his promise. She was afraid of him. This wasn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to protect her. She wasn't supposed to be afraid anymore.

The moment Dawn started to cry, Spike's sensible reasoning of disagreeing with her was lost. He cradled her into his arms, and tried to stop her from trembling. He was relieved when he felt Dawn wrap her arms around his waist. He never wanted to be the one to break her. He never again wanted to be responsible for making her cry.

Dawn looked up and whispered one final plea in Spike's ear, "Please,"

"Okay," Spike replied, as he closed his eyes momentarily, "For a few days,"

"You don't come near the girl, Doc"

"I don't smell a soul anywhere on you. Why do you even care?"

"I made a promise to a lady,"

Spike ducked aside as Doc's long tongue lunged at him. He jumped as the old man tried to pull his feet from under him. Then in one swift movement he kicked Doc backwards. Doc stumbled and fell off the tower.

It was simple and quick, laughable even, for a significant 'world in peril' fight to end so fast. So fast that Spike could imagine himself falling, bones breaking as he'd hit the ground. But that would never happen, not when there was so much at stake.

Spike turned to Dawn. She was smiling through her tears, exhausted but happy that this ordeal was finally over. It would be. Soon.

"It's okay, Pet. Everything will be fine now," Spike said, as he undid the ropes around her wrists.

He surveyed the battle that was happening on ground level, and in that instance he was there. He watched as Buffy repetitively hit Glory with the Troll hammer; each blow more brutal than the last. In that moment he knew what she wanted. He had known it all along; the only difference now was that he knew he couldn't compete with that desire. Flashes of her falling from the sky engulfed in white light were created before his eyes. He could never save her. She'd never want to be saved.

"It's a gift," Dawn said, her voice brought him back to the top of the tower, "It's hers. It's not mine,"

Something had changed. This wasn't just some twisted fairytale scenario anymore. This wasn't a gallant rescue to save the Princess from up on the tower. Spike's armour had rusted away, and all that was left was a desperate notion and a knife he didn't know he had been carrying. A knife that was covered in blood. A knife that was most likely responsible for the long slashes that adorned Dawn's dress.

Dawn pressed her hand against her stomach. She flinched as her hand put pressure on her wounds, "You killed me," she whispered as she looked up at Spike.

Spike looked down at his hands. They were drenched in blood, and he knew it was Dawn's. He watched as the red liquid dribbled through his fingers and dripped through the platform, no portals opened; there was no end of the world.

As his eyes focused again on Dawn, Spike's gaze became cold and callous. Without any last words or goodbye, he violently shoved her off the tower. It was fast and quick, just like the fight with Doc. She didn't scream. The only noise that was made was a dull thud as she hit the ground. The sound repeated in Spike's mind. Over and over and over…

Spike woke to the sound of knocking. Still halfway between his dream and reality, Spike listened as the unwelcome visitor kept tapping against the door of the Hotel room, or as the sound of Dawn's fall echoed on. Both states seemed somewhat unreal. Something was wrong. Something was always wrong.

The soft rustling of the bed sheet caught Spike's attention. Dawn was still asleep, blissfully unaware of company calling. The girl could sleep through anything now. She never could before. But now things had changed. Dawn was still afraid of many things and jittery as hell, but now it was like she was waiting for her fears to happen. She had given up on trying to stop them from coming true.

She always slept a lot. For some reason that annoyed him. For some reason it made him think that she liked dreaming rather than her life with him. Maybe that's why he would always kill her in his dreams, why most of his dreams consisted of her death. He wanted to kill her dreams. He wanted to be her dreams.

Things had changed a lot since their departure from Sunnydale. Since a couple of days away from home became a road trip to nowhere. Since a promise was moved aside by grief, and an overwhelming urge to destroy the feeling. Their relationship now was nothing like the hellmouth version anymore. It had escalated at an incredible pace. It was fast and quick, just like…

It was never meant to go this far. He had just wanted a taste at first. Something to remind him about what he was protecting. It was an innocent kiss on the lips. His kiss didn't linger. It could hardly be called a kiss. It was a peck. It was barely there.

Dawn was the one who had really kissed him first—in the most inappropriate and surprising way. She practically jumped him while he was driving. That moment was all about desperation. Dawn was trying to pretend to be someone else, and Spike was trying to pretend to be with someone else. It was never really about each other. Spike hardly knew if it was now, or what their relationship really meant to him. Or Dawn.

Another round of knocks against the wooden door reminded Spike of his unwelcome visitor. Whoever it was behind the door was pissing him off. He grabbed his crumpled jeans from off the floor and put them on. As he walked towards the door he grabbed a knife from off a side table. He could never be too careful. Not when it concerned Dawn. She was his. His to protect, his to keep…You killed me, his to kill. And if that meant he would have to endure a few hours of pain set off by the chip in his head, so be it. It wasn't the first time.

He frowned as he looked through the peephole. Someone had their hand over it. Spike was never one for anticipation games. If whoever it was wanted his attention so badly, they had it. He unlocked the door and opened it a fraction.

The first thing Spike noticed was a crossbow aimed at his chest.

"Hello Spike,"

Spike studied the man in front of him that was holding the weapon. He had changed. He was a lot more rugged looking. It didn't look like he had shaven for a few weeks, and his clothes were creased and crumpled like he had slept in them for more than a few weeks. Yet still, this man seemed to hold a certain amount of dignity.

Spike gripped the knife in his hands as he let the door swing backwards, "Hello Rupert,"

AN: Just an explanation about the short time Dawn and Spike have been on the road. In the first chapter it may have seemed like they had been gone a longer time, but due to a change in direction this fic is going I had to make it shorter. My excuse is that the way Dawn perceives time is different, she is a little bit disturbed…::looks around to see if they bought it::…Well, bye for now. Please review, it gives me a happy.